A group of schools across Teesside has launched an annual award in memory of a local businessman.

Ad Astra Academy Trust, which runs eight primary schools in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, and Stockton-on-Tees, recently unveiled the Alby Pattison Award which will be given every year to the school within the Trust that has gone above and beyond in the arts or sport or both.

Alby Pattison, a former trustee of Ad Astra Academy Trust and the founder of the hugely successful Hart Biologicals in Hartlepool, died on October 30 from a rare heart condition.

Andy Brown OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Ad Astra Academy Trust, said: “Alby made a significant contribution to the business, education and sporting community across Teesside and the annual award is a great way to remember him.

“The arts and sport are two things that Alby cared about deeply so it is very fitting that the award reflects these key areas of the curriculum.”

The Northern Echo: Headteacher Charlotte Haylock, Max Wilkins and Nayab Kousar with the Alby Pattison AwardHeadteacher Charlotte Haylock, Max Wilkins and Nayab Kousar with the Alby Pattison Award (Image: Ad Astra Academy Trust)

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The inaugural award was presented recently to Ayresome Primary School during the Trust’s Christmas Concert at Billingham Synthonia Social Club.

Andy Brown added: “During the calendar year, all our schools have excelled in the arts and sport, but the judging panel felt that the music initiatives undertaken at Ayresome outside of the curriculum were worthy of the Alby Pattison Award.”   

Charlotte Haylock, Headteacher of Ayresome Primary School said: “We are absolutely delighted to be presented with the award. Children are overjoyed, as are staff, to have their efforts within the Arts recognised.

“Music has been a strength of the school and prior to the pandemic, children from Ayresome took part in many concerts and competitions. With the pandemic hopefully behind us, we aim to enable all children who wish to play an instrument and develop their music talent to have the opportunity to do so once again.”

The Northern Echo: Among his many attributes, Alby Pattison had a passion for musicAmong his many attributes, Alby Pattison had a passion for music (Image: Ad Astra Academy Trust)

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Speaking on behalf of the Pattison family, Alby’s daughter Lizzie, said: “‘We are incredibly honoured and proud that Alby is being remembered in this way. He was always incredibly passionate about both the arts and sports and was involved in both from being at school himself.

“From his own passion stemmed a belief that all children should have the opportunity to experience or be involved in the arts or sports themselves.”

Ad Astra Academy Trust was formed in 2015 and over the last seven years has grown across the Tees Valley, providing education for over 3,000 pupils and 500 employees in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool.

Alby Pattison grew Hart Biologicals from a small business start-up in 2002 to an award-winning medical diagnostics company.

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Among his many achievements, he was Hartlepool’s Business Leader of the Year in 2016. He was also awarded the MBE for services to international trade, the economy and charity in 2018.

He was granted the Freedom of the Borough by Hartlepool Council and in November 2022 he was posthumously named Hartlepool Sports Council’s ‘Personality of the Year’ in recognition of his significant contribution to sport in the town.

The other primary schools within Ad Astra Academy Trust are Barnard Grove, Brougham, West Park and West View in Hartlepool, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Sunnyside in Middlesbrough.

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